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Spanning across north-east Scotland, Aberdeenshire is home to a plethora of national and local treasures. From castles and manors to picturesque beaches and wildlife reserves, this county is the ideal location to experience Scottish heritage, culture, scenery, and nature. Sample fine whiskies at one of the many distilleries, hike through the Cairngorms National Park, or explore Aberdeen city centre – explore below our selection of top things to do in Aberdeenshire.
Best Restaurant: The Cock and Bull won the Scottish Gastropub of the Year for three years in a row, with a menu full of traditional Scottish food, from Aberdeen Angus burgers to slow cooked pork.
Best Shopping: The Aberdeen Antique Centre offers a wide range of antique goods, from well preserved Victorian furniture to stunning and rare pieces of 19th and 20th century jewellery.
Best Kept Secret: Glendronach Distillery have been producing ‘richly sherried’ single malt whiskies for almost two centuries. Glimpse into their history and distilling methods, and taste a dram on their discovery tours.
His Majesty’s Theatre
His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen city is considered one of Scotland’s most prized possessions and offers an outstanding blend of old and new architecture in the Frank Matcham designed building. With a capacity reaching almost 1,500, His Majesty’s Theatre hosts some of the biggest productions in international theatre, showcasing world-renowned performances of Wicked, Jersey Boys, and Dirty Dancing.The theatre is also said to be the residence of Jake, the ghost of a former stage hand who finds the theatre so charming, he never wants to leave!
His Majesty’s Theatre is a short 15 minute drive from Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.
Breakneck Comedy Club
The Breakneck Comedy Club was launched in 2010, and has been growing ever since. From 12 annual shows to over 200, comedy nights at Breakneck have become a hotspot for Scotland’s best local and national comedic talent. Immerse yourself in the intimate and lively atmosphere, and enjoy the many hilarious acts and routines over a few well-priced drinks from the bar.
You can find the Breakneck Comedy Club just a 15 minute drive from our Aberdeen Airport hotel.
Aberdeen Music Hall
The Aberdeen Music Hall has been an iconic venue for live performance for more than 150 years. Its majestic auditorium can host 1,300 people seated and 1,500 people standing, offering the perfect view for a host of internationally acclaimed musicians, comedians and TV personalities. The building’s classical façade and Roman-style columns give a regal feel, and the warm and friendly atmosphere completes the package.
With an array dishes available at the venue’s Music Hall Café and a range of refreshing drinks at the Square Room or the Doric Bar, Aberdeen Music Hall is the perfect venue for night of entertainment. The hall is situated only a twenty-minute drive from our hotel.
Tolquhon Castle offers large ruins to explore from its magnificent gatehouse (fully intact and more for impressing visitors rather than defending against any unwanted guests!) to the main house structure. Almost fairy-tale like in appearance, Tolquhon Castle warrants plenty of exploration with the family rooms upstairs, the Steward’s Room, and the Pit Prison, all waiting for you to uncover the castle’s hidden mysteries.
The castle served as a permanent residence for almost three centuries, and remains well intact today despite being classed as a ruin. The grounds can also afford exceptional viewpoints of Aberdeenshire. The castle grounds and shop open 9:30am-5:30pm every day, and admission costs £4.50 for adults and £2.70 for children. Tolquhon Castle can be found under a half an hour’s drive from the Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.
Aberdeenshire’s Fyvie Castle is one of the region’s proud monuments to its own history. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle has a mix of old and new with an appealing, well decorated Edwardian interior, displaying a vast collection of arms, armour and art. Keep an eye out portrait collections of the timeless work of Batoni, Romney and Gainsborough whilst exploring the lavish hallways and corridors.
The castle grounds are offer a restored racquets court, an ice house, a bowling alley, a bird hide, and a great stone wheel-staircase, one of the finest in the country. Fyvie Castle is also home to a range of wildlife, from swans and coots to geese and even the occasional osprey. Visitors can also experience the grounds from a balloon ride, which will give you unmatched views of the surrounding woodlands and lochs.
End the afternoon by popping in to the tea room, where there is a delicious selection of snacks and light lunches, before visiting the castle shop for souvenirs of your trip. You can find Fyvie Castle just over a half hour by car from our hotel.
Forvie National Nature Reserve
The Sands of Forvie create a landscape of typical Scottish beauty. The rippling sand dunes flanking the Ythan estuary are home to a stunning collection of wildlife, including but not limited to the largest colony of breeding Eider ducks in the UK. The scenic setting also offers a number of walking trails and empty expanses perfect for picnics and long family strolls. Take a glimpse into the history of Aberdeenshire as you uncover the half-buried remains of a 12th century church, the victim of a blistering sandstorm some 300 years later.
The visitors centre contains a number of exhibits and displays about the area, as well as a touch-screen DVD presentation. Forvie National Nature Reserve is located a thirty minute drive from Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.
Haddo House and Country Park
Haddo House and Country Park is one of Aberdeen’s classic manors. A settlement for thousands of years, dating back as early as the Bronze Age, Haddo House now receives over 220,000 visitors a year. Despite a fire in 1930, the house still retains its original Palladian design, combining a Georgian exterior with a Victorian interior to make a classic cocktail of beautiful brickwork.
Haddo also houses fine art collections from 18th century artists such as Gainsborough and Batoni, and an assortment of vintage period furniture and decoration. The stunning country park extends for almost 240 acres, in which you can follow Scot’s Mile for a stunning viewpoint of Aberdeenshire and the grounds, or take a long, peaceful walk through Craigie Wood and Deer Park. The estate also has a new adventure playground available for the kids and a number of picnic areas.
You can enjoy some lunch or a snack at the onsite tearoom, or pick up a souvenir at the National Trust for Scotland Shop. Opening times vary depending on the attraction, and Haddo House and Country Park is just a thirty-minute drive from our Aberdeen Airport hotel.
Stonehaven Open Air Pool
Stonehaven Open Air Pool offers visitors the perfect opportunity to relax. With clean sea water heated to a comfortable 29 degrees, the 50 metre Olympic swimming pool and accompanying Lido provide fun for the whole family, whether you’re dipping your toes or diving straight in. Specific sessions include a quiet swim, a lane swim, a fun swim for the young ones, and a midnight swim under the stars with some retro disco music.There are deck chairs surrounding the pools and the Splash Café, which serves up hot and cold drinks, hot food, sweets, and delicious baked goods! Opening times vary depend on season and day of the week, and tickets cost £5.30 for adult and £3.20 for children. Stonehaven Open Air Pool is situated a thirty-five minute drive from Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.
Tarves Heritage Centre
The village of Tarves is steeped in history, proudly displayed at the Tarves Heritage Centre. The centre’s exhibitions are housed in part of an elegant school from the mid-19th century, which also includes a reproduction of a real Victorian classroom. School desks, books, and even a blackboard with chalk and an easel all recreate the atmosphere of the typical Victorian school. Outside of the classroom, the Corbett Room offers a look at the history of the local trade, with displays varying from farming, agriculture, and domestic life to business and trade, shopping, and school. Look out for the locally found Bronze Age sword, one of many Bronze and Stone Age artefacts housed in the centre.
The centre is open April- October, 2pm-4.30pm Thursday – Sunday. Admission is free and the Tarves Heritage Centre can be found a half hour drive from our Aberdeen Airport hotel.
Milton Art Gallery
The Milton Art Gallery prides itself on its collection of locally produced, original arts and crafts. With painted selections from artists such as James Fraser, Kathleen Bremner, and Peter Goodfellow, as well as designer jewellery, works of ceramics, glass, and wood, Milton Art Gallery offers an excellent display of Aberdeenshire’s artistry. Situated within a renovated farm complex, there’s a range of other things to do and see, from The Milton Brasserie to a children’s play area. The gallery is open from 10am-5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 11am-5pm on Sundays.
The Milton Art Gallery is just off the River Dee, a thirty minute drive from Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.
Gordon Highlanders Museum
For a display dedicated to one of the most celebrated regiments of the British Army, look no further than the Gordon Highlanders Museum. The museum houses a number of exhibitions that cover the Highlanders’ exploits from its early history and its deployment in Asia and Africa, through both World Wars, and up to its present day. Visit the armoury for an impressive selection of weaponry from the Napoleonic era to today, or peruse the Silver Room, which offers a glimpse into one of the great traditions of the British Army.
Visit the gardens and stroll amongst the wildlife with squirrels, butterflies, various birds, and Ben, the local cat, as well as a beautiful array of plant life. The museum season runs February to December 12th, opening Tuesday- Saturday 10am-4.30pm. Admission costs £6.65 for adults and £3.33 for children. The Gordon Highlanders Museum can be found just a fifteen minute drive from our hotel.
Aberdeenshire’s Blairs Museum gives visitors a view into the rich Catholic heritage of Scotland, one of the most influential periods of its history. Housing collections of priceless relics from Scotland’s Catholic past, the museum is a fascinating representation of times gone by. The displays range from paintings of some of Scotland’s most famous historical individuals, such as Mary Queen of Scots, to sacred silver, gold relics, and a collection of hand-made church textiles dating back centuries.
The museum is open April to October on weekends, 2pm-5pm. Admission costs £3.50 for adults and £1 for children (8-16). The Blairs Museum is a twenty-five minute drive from Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.
Union Square Shopping Centre
Find the biggest brands and the best eats at Aberdeen’s Union Square Shopping Centre for a day of shopping, eating, and drinking. With mega stores like Apple, Boots and Hollister, a Cineworld cinema, and countless restaurants and bars from Handmade Burger Co.to Chiquito, Union Square offers a shopping experience like no other
Weekday opening hours are 9am-8pm, closing an hour earlier on Saturdays, and 11am-6pm on Sundays. Find all of your retail needs just twenty minutes by car from Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.
The Academy Shopping Centre
Located inside a beautiful building that was formerly a Victorian school, the Academy Shopping Centre houses a wide array of shops and restaurants, making it the ideal spot for an afternoon visit. Outlets such as Attic, Concept and Jack Wills ensure a day of retail therapy, visit Costa Coffee for a drink, or enjoy Nandos or Wagamamas for a delicious meal in the sunshine on the piazza style courtyard. If you’re here for an evening trip, grab a drink at the beer garden of the Old School House, or visit the exciting new Latin Rum Lounge of Bos’n.
Opening times vary depending on the day of the week, and the Academy Shopping Centre is only a 20 minute drive from our Aberdeen Airport hotel.
Teasel and Tweed
Teasel and Tweed of Aberdeen offer a unique and stylish collection of furniture, accessories and gifts, produced only by Scottish designers and artists. With displays of beautiful ceramic and metal jewellery, art work, printed and woven textiles, metal work and knitwear, and much more, the quaint shop is a ‘must visit’ for souvenirs and gifts that really represent Scotland. The store opens at 10am Tuesday to Saturday, and closes at 4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 5pm on Saturday and 6pm on Thursday.
Teasel and Tweed can be found just a fifteen minute drive from Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport.